WILLIAM ROBSON Obituary (2022) – Watertown, MA

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ROBSON, William Michael Michael sang “The Impossible Dream” by Don Quixote; and his sentiment, “Fighting for the right without questions or pauses,” echoed Michael’s loving and attentive life, as well as his unforgettable smile and deeply caring gaze. His colleagues at the Massachusetts State Department of Disabled Affairs handed him an office sign with “Mighty Mike” written on it; and the name stuck. Michael’s journey began as the oldest of four members of a traveling Air Force family. With stops in distant places like Labrador, he ended up at Bangor High School in Maine where he was a track star, sang in the All-State Choir, and was a National Merit Scholar. At MIT and the University of Maryland, he studied physics and went to work for NASA. He then moved away from science and obtained another degree in special education. A poster child for the Protestant work ethic, “Mighty Mike” quickly became the Massachusetts State Department’s director of persons with disabilities. Sharing the liberal disposition of his parents, Bill and Betty, Michael was a life member of the ACLU and lent his skills to many hopeful political campaigns. He went to the famous Woodstock Rock Weekend in 1969 and sang with the Boston Choral Group across Europe. Michael professionally pursued his many artistic talents as a member of SAG-AFTRA, acting in musical theater, playing guitar, dancing (jazz and tap dancing) and singing – and with his considerate beauty – modeling. Finally, Michael moved to teaching math and geometry in grade 9 to special education students and then the general public at Brighton High School in Boston. When someone asked him what he “did”, it was the job he mentioned. Michael’s sisters: Deborah, Robin with Steven Gessner; his brother Pierre with Jean; her nieces: Amber Fearon, Elissa Robson & her children, Cole Hiscutt & Haven Sidibe, Jozephine Gessner with Megan Plot; nephews: Matthew Robson with Jessica, Jeremiah Gessner, all carry fond memories of Michael’s beautiful character and a life lived with decency and unpretentious humor. One evening in September 1980, Safoura Rafeizadeh went to Lilly’s in Faneuil Hall with her sister and a cousin. From the second song at the piano bar, Safoura had fallen in love. So began his 40-year-old company with Michael Robson. They loved going to the theater, and at concerts they quenched their thirst for music. Michael learned his native language, Farsi, and sang classics like “Life of Love”. They traveled to an island, long with Michael’s family, each year at Schoodic Lake in Piscataquis County, Maine. They also wandered through Europe, went to music festivals and, in the peace of their homes, read to each other. Safoura comforted Michael during his precious final days at their home in Watertown, Massachusetts. They expressed their commitment, not by law, but by a bond of wonder and love. Michael’s presence will be palpable until Safoura joins him. The memorial service will be held on Saturday January 22, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the Story Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138, burial at 12:30 p.m. at the grave on Azalea Road, Mount Auburn Cemetery. For the online guestbook, please visit www.faggas.com

Published by Boston Globe January 4-9, 2022.


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